Parallel Session 8: Intellectual property challenges to promote innovation and timely global equitable access and affordability

Intellectual property rights do not and should not prevent Member States from taking measures to protect public health. The WHO Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (GSPA-PHI) highlighted key principles for the achievement of WHO’s Constitution objective of the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health. Accordingly, WHO plays a strategic and central role in the relationship between public health, innovation and intellectual property within its mandates, capacities and constitutional objectives, bearing in mind those of other relevant intergovernmental organizations. Achieving universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential healthcare services and safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines, is a priority. To support the research and development of vaccines, medicines and other medical devices for communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, as well as to provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the TRIPS Agreement regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all.

International negotiations on issues related to intellectual property rights and health should be coherent in their approaches to the promotion of public health. Strengthening the innovative capacity of developing countries is essential to respond to public health needs. Intellectual property rights are considered an important incentive in the development of new health products; however, this incentive alone does not meet the need for the development of new products to fight diseases where the potential paying market is small or uncertain. Several factors contribute to the price of health products and medical devices, and public policies should address these factors to increase their affordability and accessibility. Among others, IP policies and competition law and policies could contribute to reducing prices.


Session Material:

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⬇️ PS8_questions_answers_and_links